October 4, 2002

Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq,

Salman Rushdie defends fellow writer Michel Houellebecq, the autonomy of the literary text and its right to be considered on its own terms with characters of every sort.
posted by semmi at 11:42 PM PST - 18 comments

Palin's Travels

Palin's Travels includes pictures, video, text and audio from Pole To Pole, Around the World in 80 Days, Full Circle (with Sahara, Hemingway Adventure and Great Railway Journey coming soon) - BBC TV series featuring Michael Palin of Monty Python fame wandering around the planet and being puckish and amusing. Great TV, and a great site, particularly if (like me) you're a travel addict. "No bombarding with ads, no spam on toast, just the Palin product, taken apart and put together again, for you to use however you want." [via the always excellent and recently-resurrected wood_s_lot]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:38 PM PST - 27 comments

The Folk Den Archive

The Folk Den Archive In November, 1995, Roger McGuinn (yes, that Roger McGuinn - the same guy, BTW, who was originally Jim McGuinn) started uploading original renditions of traditional folk songs for free distribution. He's been doing it every month ever since. In seven years, he's covered American classics from "John Henry" to "Get Along Little Dogies" while also covering the rest of the world in tunes as diverse as "Finnegan's Wake" and "Waltzing Matilda". He also puts up an appropriate holiday song each December. Each song is usually available in a variety of downloads, and is heavily annotated, so if you ever wanted to know the original 1829 lyrics to "Stewball", this is the place to go.
posted by yhbc at 9:37 PM PST - 15 comments

Educational post-mortem autopsy video.

Educational post-mortem autopsy video. I found this utterly fascinating. Needless to say many people will not react in the same way. [QuickTime]
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:21 PM PST - 55 comments


SmokymokeyS has been around for some time, but I've never seen it mentioned here. There's some great design and imagery to be found there, and they've been working on a Javascript RPG called Triglav, which although they say it's unfinished, seems pretty functional and very cool.
posted by mikhail at 3:09 PM PST - 8 comments

When you wake up Monday morning (October 7), consider donning a pair of red undies to show your support for reproductive choice. Sadly, i think that most people will actually be hiding their support this way, but it's still a good cause.
posted by zegooober at 2:42 PM PST - 19 comments

The UK has been urged to ban the smacking of children.

The UK has been urged to ban the smacking of children. We signed the UN convention on the rights of the child eleven years ago, but have since failed to condemn the practice, leading the UN in turn to condemn us. Some armchair pundits on BBC Online are saying they'll continue to smack even if it's illegal - have the UN overreached, or this really as bad as they say it is?
posted by bwerdmuller at 2:16 PM PST - 40 comments

How Much is a Human Life Worth?

How Much is a Human Life Worth? Read the smoke signals that it's nigh time for tort reform. In the newest bout of self-help jurisprudence, the "good" people of california have gone too far in awarding an obscene amount of money in a case against Philip Morris. Betty Bullock can now take her 28 billion and go shopping for half of Microsoft, or any other Fortune 500 company, if she's so inclined. Assuming that there is a bank in the land that can cash the check. Smoking my way to the bank.
posted by mr.abominable at 2:08 PM PST - 25 comments

Canada Customs & Revenue Agency detains pro-Israel papers.

Canada Customs & Revenue Agency detains pro-Israel papers. Newsletters, from the California-based Ayn Rand Institute, defending "Israel's moral right to exist" that were destined for the University of Toronto, were confiscated so that the newsletters can be determined whether they constitute hate propaganda. The newsletter in question [pdf] was to be handed out at a at a meeting on Sunday. Dr. Brook, author of the newsletter, admits it is "radical" but isn't this censorship?
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:07 PM PST - 36 comments

Twenty-five years after the Mirage.

Twenty-five years after the Mirage. Wade past the Bob Greene digression up high to the meat of this piece -- a look back at the Chicago Sun-Times' landmark investigative project, the Mirage Tavern. The premise: What if a newspaper opened a bar? Who would come calling? In this case, a parade of petty scammers on a variety of public and private payrolls, each with their hand out for a shakedown. It was a singular look at corruption at the small-business level, a 25-day series people actually read and chuckled over, and yet it was denied the Pulitzer Prize and marked a watershed moment, after which undercover journalism was seen as fundamentally dishonest
posted by nance at 1:54 PM PST - 31 comments

Paper Towels Go Interactive!

Paper Towels Go Interactive! Well, the contest is moving on to its next stages, but soon, Georgia-Pacific will be holding online voting for it's new "logo" or "mascot" for Brawny (tm) paper towels brand. You can sign up at the link above for a heads-up to the voting, or just check back later. What is the world coming to. And to think, I found this via the Wall St. Journal this a.m.
posted by djspicerack at 1:47 PM PST - 9 comments


"Smile," he said. I'd asked what record the music was from, but I knew as soon as I heard it. The tapes of the Smile sessions, long considered Brian Wilson's lost masterpiece, may never be released; peer-to-peer, however, can put us in touch with the album that some call the ultimate pop record, and that Wilson called his "teenage symphony to God".
posted by bingbangbong at 1:23 PM PST - 11 comments

Friday fun -- Magic Cube

Friday fun -- Magic Cube (Flash) It's admittedly a little time-consuming to figure out the interface, but it's beautifully done, an interesting concept, and the results can be stunning. (first link post, please be kind)
posted by babylon at 12:18 PM PST - 8 comments

And the winner is....

And the winner is.... The 2002 IgNobel prizes were awarded in Boston last night. Who says scientists are just a bunch of navel-gazers? Or that a washing machine for dogs was simply impossible? To all nay-sayers, I say........nay! All hail the great and glorious progress science has made possible!
posted by amberglow at 10:51 AM PST - 16 comments

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court begins its term this coming Monday. There are lots of exciting cases on the calendar (99k PDF). For example, Ewing v. California, which will test California's 3 strikes rule. Scheidler v. NOW, which has to do with anti-abortion activists blocking access to clinics. And of course, Eldred v. Ashcroft, where the issue is whether or not the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (PDF) is Constitutional. The last has been mentioned in a couple threads and has gotten loads of web attention, including this new piece from WIRED. A lot to look forward to, whether you're interested in one of the specific issues or you're just an avid armchair justice.
posted by jewishbuddha at 9:28 AM PST - 22 comments

A Survivor's Guide for Presidential Nominees.

A Survivor's Guide for Presidential Nominees.
"It isn't easy to say no to the president of the United States, even if he lacks the legendary persuasive powers of a Lyndon B. Johnson."
posted by the fire you left me at 9:26 AM PST - 3 comments

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist.

Falwell calls THE Mohammed a terrorist. But it's not the first time he's offered this sick, and truly twisted opinion. On his site we find this gem. How long will it take for his people to give up, and step back to let the snipers have a better shot?
posted by Dome-O-Rama at 9:11 AM PST - 48 comments

Not really funny, but fun.

Not really funny, but fun. Have a good Friday everyone!
posted by DailyBread at 8:34 AM PST - 2 comments

Computer Screens in Films

Computer Screens in Films are normally quite distinctive but can you indentify the films these are from? [link from b3ta]
posted by bhell13 at 7:51 AM PST - 45 comments

Advice for winter

Advice for winter Don't drive through any puddles. You never know how deep they might be.
posted by donfactor at 7:28 AM PST - 34 comments


GODS OF MUSIC: There's terabytes of mp3s by independent bands available. GODS OF MUSIC helps separate the wheat from the chaff. If you think particular reviewers are in tune with your tastes then you can customize your quest for music based around them.
posted by substrate at 7:28 AM PST - 15 comments

Pictures of microbes and the machines that may one day fight them...
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:28 AM PST - 7 comments

It's Googlefight!!

It's Googlefight!! Enter two keywords and let them battle it out! I'm almost excited!!
posted by remlapm at 7:14 AM PST - 94 comments

The man who knew

The man who knew was John O'Neill, former FBI counterterrorism expert who spent six years connecting the dots to bin Laden and the World Trade Center/Pentagon attacks last year. Last night Frontline broadcast an excellent documentary on the tragic ironies of his life, detailing the actions of the fatuous bureaucrats who stymied his investigations, and his own death in the World Trade Center. This one-man Office of Homeland Security shows that it's not about money or departments or posturing or color-coded alerts -- it's about a commitment to truth and a willingess to act.
posted by skimble at 7:02 AM PST - 16 comments

I recently bought a cheap DVD of Broken Arrow, the late 90's John Woo thriller that portrays an attempt to steal nuclear weapons. A earlier MeFI thread briefly brought up NEST, or the Nuclear Emergency Search Team who are supposed to find these things if smuggled into the United States.

I googled on it, and while I wasn't surprised to learn there have been a large number of hoaxes I was surprised find out there have been some thirty incidents not classified as a hoax. A large part of the Woo film deals with the idea of The Feds searching for nuclear weapons from oribit.

Well I might just be a country boy but even I know there is Physics and then there is Movie Physics so I was curious - can these nuclear weapons be spotted by satellites? Maybe we're getting all bothered over pretty much nuthin, if The Feds already know where they are. Rense has a interesting post about NEST in NYC.
posted by Mutant at 5:39 AM PST - 15 comments

Sand Art

Sand Art
posted by Spoon at 5:34 AM PST - 11 comments

Hardcore vs. Farb So, you want to be a Civil War Reenactor. Here's a few sources to get you started so you can learn the lingo and shop for authentic shoes, hats, and hardtack. (more inside)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:34 AM PST - 24 comments

Remember Claire Swires? Or Peter Chung? Well, there is a new man in town ... and his name is Trevor Luxton.
posted by ralawrence at 3:55 AM PST - 6 comments

The 6th Largest Nuclear power in the world refuses UN arms inspections

The 6th Largest Nuclear power in the world refuses UN arms inspections and has indicated that it may be prepared to use their nukes. This threatening tone has some experts feeling worried that the nuclear weapons taboo may be broken soon. Once again the UN and the USA are being accused of double standards in terms of the treatment of Israel versus other countries. Does this amount to Nuclear Apartheid ?
posted by Babylonian at 2:25 AM PST - 36 comments

The Push For War (by Anatol Lieven).

The Push For War (by Anatol Lieven). "The most surprising thing about the Bush Administration's plan to invade Iraq is not that it is destructive of international order; or wicked, when we consider the role the US (and Britain) have played, and continue to play, in the Middle East; or opposed by the great majority of the international community; or seemingly contrary to some of the basic needs of the war against terrorism. It is all of these things, but they are of no great concern to the hardline nationalists in the Administration....The most surprising thing about the push for war is that it is so profoundly reckless....What we see now is the tragedy of a great country, with noble impulses, successful institutions, magnificent historical achievements and immense energies, which has become a menace to itself and to mankind."

Excecutive summary: Lord Acton foretold all fruit of "military superiority".
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 1:38 AM PST - 44 comments

Amorous ostriches scoop Ig Nobel prize.

Amorous ostriches scoop Ig Nobel prize. 'An investigation into why amorous UK ostriches were failing to breed is just one of the winners of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prizes. The annual awards for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced" were presented at Harvard University on 3 October. '
'Work on scrotal asymmetry in men and sculpture, the surface area of Indian elephants and a Japanese dog bark translator were among the other recipients of Ig Nobels, awarded annually by the humour magazine, the Annals of Improbable Research.'
The Ig Nobel homepage.
posted by plep at 12:50 AM PST - 2 comments

The Oldie: Celebrating The Sulphurous Glory Of Old Fartdom

The Oldie: Celebrating The Sulphurous Glory Of Old Fartdom If you're a sozzled, bilious and deeply reactionary misanthropic Brit who's over 80, hates anything foreign (specially Americans) and stubbornly refuses to die just for the pleasure of spiting the youngsters, then The Oldie is definitely the magazine for you. It couldn't be more "out of synch" with the "cool" MeFi "demographic" but it does share the same in-your-face fuckwittedness and I love it. Its unofficial editorial manifesto, drafted by the late, great Auberon Waugh, says it all:
1. Inveighing against the ignorance, idleness, stupidity, dishonesty and sexual incompetence of the young. 2. Insulting the young in any and every manifestation. 3. Insulting the old who seem to be deferring or otherwise sucking up to the young. 4. Promoting the idea of "age fascism" whereby the young are automatically seen as inferior. 5. Denouncing new things, new ideas, modernism in any form, especially anything proposed in the name of youth or by someone under the age of 40.[More inside]
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:09 AM PST - 23 comments

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